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March 11, 2003

PoMo Right?

Lewis Charles Murtaugh is talking about the "Post Modern Right". See here for an earlier reference. Charlie seems to indicate that Post Modern Rightists are non-religious and conservative. That is pretty much me, but anyone who reads this blog knows that no friend of Post Modernism am I....

Posted by razib at 03:00 PM




I guess that's how you and I got together.

"The enemy of my enemy is my friend"

Posted by: duende at March 11, 2003 05:15 PM


For a long time I've considered myself a rightist, and for a long time I was also a (ghasp!) moral relativist (but *never* a postmodernist). My moral relativism sprang from a philosophical misunderstanding. I had taken the monist (maybe a a bit Buddhist) position that all was one and the categories of good and evil have no true existance. I think that this is true BUT i realised that you can't take enlightenment piecemeail. I was prepared to deny the existance of good and evil but I was not prepared to deny the existance of many other things, and I couldn't do that because I was unenlightened. Therefore I realised that, as an unenlightened being, I should treat good and evil as though they do exist just as I view myself as existing. Until I can deny all categories I have no right to deny just one.

I think that this may explain some of the confusion that surrounds Buddhism. On one hand we have the enlightened master saying "there is no good or evil" and on the other hand we have the eightfold path which is a *morality*. The paradox is that you can only reach the stage of appreciating that there is no morality, by practicing morality.

I am an extremely right wing white man so it comes as a suprise to some that I have rejected Christianity in favour of eastern religion, but there are aspects of Christianity that I have always been uncomfortable with (justly or not).

Posted by: Sporon at March 11, 2003 06:43 PM


in the united states, christianity and being right-wing go hand in hand, but in europe, the far right is much more amenable to nationalist-paganism, a la alain de benoist in france and some of the neo-nazis in scandinavia. the last pagans of the classical world were reactionaries that yearned for the ancien regime, for instance, the early byzantine historian zosimos or the late roman senator and prefect of the eternal city symmachus....

Posted by: razib at March 11, 2003 07:31 PM


Continuing with what I was writing yesterday, I have noticed that many westerners claiming to be into eastern religiion are big on the moral relativism thing, eager to pronounce (moralistically) that there is no good or evil whenever an opportunity arises. IMO, they are guilty of the same error that I used to make, (i.e. trying to take part of an inexpressible truth an combining it with samsaric constructs in a manner found convenient to them.)

I guess that this doesn't relate 100% to the topic but the two topics are related because the biggest moral relativists are probably the post modernists. In fact some might say that post modernism was designed to provide a philosophical foundation for moral relativism.

I feel that what it comes down to is that either you believe that there is a spiritual order to the universe, or you don't feel that way. If you don't feel that way, then inflicting suffering on others for the sake of fullfilling your own desires would be a rational choice.

Spiritual people tend to believe that the best way to obtain happiness is to first appreciate that there *is* a moral order to the universe. With this appreciation one can modify ones behaviour so as to minimise one's suffering through the practice of virtue. Virtue, at first, is *painful* to a lot people, but if practiced sufficiently, inner peace sets in, thus virtue can become a cause of happiness. This is the stage where virtue is said to be "its own reward".

To me that's what its all about. Either you believe my sermon or you don't, and its hard for me to see how a simlar morality to that of a an advanced religion would arise among materialists.

Posted by: Sporon at March 12, 2003 07:57 PM


Australians are rarely religious -- unless you count a love of the beach -- but our conservatives are just as conservative as US conservatives. Non-religious conservatives may seem odd in the USA but they are the norm in Australia. So what Murtaugh says is only "new" for the USA.

Posted by: John Ray at March 13, 2003 05:56 AM